filmThe Significance of Film Form

"The experience of art offers us can be intensely involving."

learn "Although are several ways of organizing films into unified formal wholes, the one that we most commonly encounter in films involves telling a story."

"The narrative form can arouse your interest and coax us to follow a series of events from start to finish."

"Moreover our minds seek to tie these systems to one another." -- "the narrative one a stylistic one–within the larger system of the total film."

"Perception on all phases of life is an activity."

"The mind is never at rest seeking order and significance testing the world for breaks in the habitual pattern.""

"Cues us to perform a specific activity..."

"Like a painting or a poem, a film employs cues in order to involve us."

"We can go further in describing how an artwork cues us to perform activities."

p. 57.

"Its useful to have a term to describe formal repetitions and the most common term is motif . We can call any significant repeated element in a film a motif.

p. 68.

filmcan"If form in cinema is the overall interrelation among various systems of elements, we can assume that every element has one or more functions. That is, every element will be seen as fulfilling roles within a whole system."

p. 67.

"Even an element as minor as the dog Toto serves many functions."

p. 67.

The Wizard of Oz

"The story of the Wizard of Oz shows development in many ways. It is for one thing a also a search, beginning with the initial separation from home , tracing a series of efforts to find a way home, and ending with home being found."

"Within the film there is also a pattern of mystery."

"We begin with a question. . . .The question answered. (The Wizard is a fraud.)"

p. 72.

"Parallelism thus requires a degree of difference as well as striking similarity."

"Differences among the elements may often sharpen into downright opposition among that our experience of the film is engaged through dramatic conflict."

p. 71.

"Repetition and variation are two sides of the same coin. To notice one is to notice the other. In thinking about films, we ought to look for similarities and differences. Shuttling between the two, we can point out motifs and contrast the changes they undergo, recognize parallelism as repetition, and still spot crucial variations."

p. 72.

"One way to notice the functions of an element is to consider the element's motivation. . . .any one element in a film will have some justification for being there." This justification is the motivation for the element."

"motivation works to give elements specific functions."

"motivation is any element in the film that the viewer justifies on some grounds. A costume, for example, needs motivation."

p. 68.

How something works in a film is to a great extent dependent on its motivation.

Critical links for my courses

bok David Bordwell & Kristin Thompson, Film Art: An Introduction.

New York: McGraw Hill, 2010. 9th Edition.

Narrative as a Formal System

Documentary, Experimental and Animated Films

Mise en Scene explained


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Sontag, pp. 3-39, "the photographer’s intentions."

• " Catching Death -- freeze frame "

• Photograph's objectify people and reality

• Photographs as a media of impact disputed

• The photograph's role in creating distance

• Advertising and media


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